Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 1/31

Save night sky

I read in the February 2011 issue of Sunset magazine that the No. 100 idea for making the West a better place to live is: Dark skies, our last best place.

I live on the Carrizo Plain and anticipate one of the world’s largest solar parks to be built soon on one of the last open, dark places in California. Anyone who has ever spent a night on the Carrizo will tell you how beautiful our night skies are.

The stars at night, from my porch, are unique and one of the reasons I moved here. Once those solar “farms” are installed, we on the Carrizo will lose our night sky.

I realize this view is not popular. Most people will call me a NIMBY. But the people who set aside land in places like Big Sur, Catalina and other unique places in this state agree with me.

Without a few individuals standing up for the last of something, there would be no place to vacation, hunt, ride through or camp. I think there is something bipolar in the thinking of the county to put one of the world’s largest solar facilities next to a national monument.

Pati Nolen

California Valley and the Carrizo Plain

Don’t mess with nature

Here we go again. The dust control experts are going to try and change what Mother Nature has always been doing. If off-highway vehicles are causing dust to blow on to the Nipomo Mesa, then please explain to me why so much dust is blowing into Santa Maria without any help from off-highway vehicles.

Now the experts are going to try and control particulate matter on the Mesa. It’s not a good idea to mess with Mother Nature. What are they planning on doing, stopping the beautiful sea breezes from blowing in to cool off the interior of Nipomo? We welcome the sea breezes around here. It’s far better than the constant garbage wind blowing in from the San Joaquin Valley lately.

I don’t ride on the Dunes, but no man has the right to change or control the wind patterns on the Mesa. Let’s not forget how Nipomo was formed. It’s a stable dune formed from onshore winds blowing inland over thousands of years. No man caused that to happen, just Mother Nature. Please don’t mess with her! If people don’t like the sand in the air on the Mesa, move out.

Theresa Morgan


Civil expression

Regarding Supervisor Adam Hill’s comments about the threats and personal attacks by some during public comment (“Call for civility met with warning,” Jan. 7):

As chairman of the Board of Supervisors, he is certainly within his rights to not tolerate such behavior (read “Robert’s Rules of Order”). Mature adults, regardless of how they feel, should be capable of expressing their opinions in a civil and courteous manner.

Ray Bracken

Los Osos

Secrecy reeks

Joe Tarica hit the nail on the head in his recent column when he discussed the issue of James Mulhall’s “buyout” (“When it’s $126,000, it’s no personnel issue,” Jan. 22)).

While we all understand the personal nature of personnel issues, when it’s the taxpayers’ money that’s being used to fund a person’s “forced” retirement, we need to have the issues addressed. Period.

There is no room for secrecy here. We are all in this together, and that is far too much money to just say we need to “trust” that it’s not something that can be addressed. Either it must be addressed or it should not have been done.

Secrecy in this kind of situation reeks of wrongdoing on someone’s part, and since everyone in the loop is paid by tax dollars, well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that we (the taxpayers) are owed a full and complete explanation.

If government officials and employees expect the public to start putting even a moderate amount of trust in them, they need to be open and forthcoming about financial issues, for we are the ones paying their salaries, their health care and their retirement. Are you listening, Atascadero?

Carol Kiessig


Unfounded remarks

Joe Tarica analogously equated resigned Atascadero Police Chief James Mulhall to a shameful former civil servant whose nefarious dealings included plundering a town’s coffers. Tarica then rendered him guilty of negotiating “backroom deals” for “fat sums of money” and implicated him in “a sneaky operation.” There’s one problem with this dazzling pastiche of rhetoric: it’s unfounded (“When it’s $126,000, it’s no personnel issue,” Jan. 22).

I’ve known Jimmy since his folks moved to California in the ’60s. I knew Jimmy when he decided on a law enforcement career.

His interest was simple: It revolted him when bad people hurt good people. He was excited about spending his life changing some of that. That’s how it happened that he retired from a distinguished career as a member of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department.

While Mulhall’s as human as any of us, he’s done a lot of good for all of us citizens, some of it much in harm’s way. My bet is that Mulhall didn’t do anything like the trash listed in Joetopia.

At this point, no one knows anything, so no one should say anything. As far as the money, if Mulhall received a check for $126,000 and the city willingly gave it to him, then I say they owed it to him.

Mark Brown

Paso Robles

Hard to believe

It is hard for me to believe that in a time when my grandsons are in classrooms with 30 others and our schools are out of money, Cal Poly is paying their new president more than $29,000 a month (“President’s potential pay: $350,000”)! Plus, free housing, a free car, free medical and the list goes on and on.

Does it cost more than $29,000 a month to live in San Luis Obispo, with all other living expenses paid? This makes me sick!

Helen Delisle

Paso Robles


Pismo Beach parking citation: $30.

Pismo Beach mayor’s monthly salary: $814.80.

Spending $1.4 million on beautification and not replacing the repulsive bathrooms: Priceless.

Adam Terpening


Respect in order

Regarding your article titled, “Former Sheriff John Pierce dies” (Dec. 31): I would like to say thank you to the folks who wrote kind and fitting farewell words for a long-time law enforcement officer who served this county well for almost 10 years.

Pierce’s career spanned a half a century and included many years serving his country as a military police officer and also in such positions as sergeant, undersheriff, chief of police and sheriff in various areas of California.

He was an honest, competent, courageous and always fair police officer. He had many friends and family members who admired and respected him.

It appears Bill Morem gathered information for his article from articles in the archives of The Tribune that were actually written more than 35 years ago in the midst of a personal feud between political factions and during a campaign for sheriff. The article is full of inaccuracies now, as it was then. It was political and personal. I was there. I was married to Pierce for 25 years.

When a lawman dies, respect is in order!

Pat Pierce


Keep government out

As an industrial real estate broker for 40 years, I have seen hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars wasted by small communities in supporting a redevelopment agency.

Redevelopment agencies should not, and I mean not, get involved directly or indirectly in any transaction. When they get involved, they generally hire a consultant to do a feasibility study for a substantial fee and when the project fails, the bureaucrats will blame the consultant and the feasibility study, when in reality, they should be held accountable.

Years ago, the promotion of business had traditionally been the function of the Chamber of Commerce. They would assist the developer by directing him to pertinent departments of local government and arranging meeting with the people in those departments. We should go back to that and keep government out of business.

George J. Stamolis

Avila Beach

Opt out for savings

I’m sure that Dennis F. Bertrand, and all the people who mistake fallacies for facts, are righteously justified in their dislike of government-run programs (“Absurd Obamacare,” Jan. 26).

I would fully expect him, and all tea partiers, to remove their names from the rolls of red tape-, regulation- and mandate-based programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Just think of the savings to the national debt!

Katherine Koch

Los Osos

Might as well try

In my Viewpoint titled, “Teachers need to make sacrifices, too” (Jan. 2), I suggested our school systems should operate like businesses whose product is education. This progressive idea generated lots of feedback, nearly all negative.

The comments fell into either the category of personal attack, which adds nothing to the debate, or expressions of outrage at the very idea of education as a measurable output. No one offered any alternative solutions. So, let’s look at the second set of objections.

The numbers are in, and they aren’t pretty. The website www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/01/educational_productivity graphs education results (test scores) versus money spent per student, adjusted for cost-of-living differences and poverty. This is return on investment in education.

The site includes an interactive map showing how school systems across the country scored. Half of our local school systems have slightly above average ROIs. Some are well below average. None are in the top rank. The much-maligned Lucia del Mar system leads in return on taxpayers’ investment in San Luis Obispo County.

We might as well try running education like a business because operating it as a government bureaucracy isn’t working all that well.

Ed Cobleigh

Paso Robles

No buggies on beach

The latest crumb the county and state (which obviously don’t care about our health) give us is 1,600 hay bales (“Hay bales are high on Dunes dust test,” Jan. 20)? The Nipomo Mesa averages 380 feet above sea level, and the proven air pollution caused by dune buggies (that have broken down the sand for the past 50 years into minute particles) blows at least 100 to 200 feet above the Mesa, all the way down to Main Street in Santa Maria.

How can 3-foot hay bales or even 7-foot fences stop this? Ridiculous! We have some of the worst air, sea and beach pollution on the whole West Coast. End the use of dune buggies on our beach!

Sunny Bode